Finding Joy
Quilts on barns are her passion

News editor

She started with a simple painted design on a dog house, but rural Durham resident Joy Waldbauer has bigger plans for her newfound passion, painting quilt patterns on old barns and other farm buildings.

“My goal is to do like 100 paintings,” Waldbauer said.

A stroll around the farm she shares with her husband, Curtis Wedel, shows she’s off to a good start. Brightly colored painted quilt patterns adorn everything from a barn to an outhouse.

“I put a Lone Star on the barn, and then I just started drawing them,” Waldbauer said.

Convincing Wedel wasn’t difficult, but he did give some advice.

“Just make sure it’s straight,” Waldbauer said.

When her freehand style coupled with rough building exteriors made straight lines a challenge, Wedel stepped in with a solution.

“He got me an old level with the bubbles in it,” Waldbauer said. “Then he got me a square, and now I use those to do all of it.”

Once Wedel started helping, Waldbauer found another use for him.

“He’s my color guru,” she said. “I’ve painted on four or five buildings out there, and he’ll say no, that’s not quite right, and tell me another color to try.”

When she started to run out of space at home, Waldbauer’s lofty goal led to eyeing neighbor’s barns and outbuildings.

“When I had too many of these at my house, I went down the road to Duane Kaiser,” she said. “Duane’s letting me do it because he’s kind.”

She painted a quilt pattern on one of Kaiser’s building’s, and he liked it so much he gave her another chance, Waldbauer said.

That design went on a barn Kaiser owns that once belonged to Lionel Frick, and Waldbauer said it’s supposed to be a memorial.

“He wants me to paint ‘LF’ down in the corner,” she said.

Waldbauer is on the hunt for anyplace that looks like it should have a brightly colored quilt pattern on it, and she’s been known to walk up to a stranger’s door to ask whether she can paint.

“I’d drive along the road and look at buildings, and I started asking,” she said. “I’ve seen an old building and called people, and usually they say I don’t want one there, so I’ve kind of stopped doing that.”

She’s done enough paintings that she’s been getting requests, which will keep her moving toward her goal.

“I’ve got a lady in western Kansas who wants me to paint on the side of her quilt building. I’m supposed to do one on my brother-in-law’s barn, and one on Nathan Wedel’s homestead,” Waldbauer said.

Some of the paintings Waldbauer has done that are visible from roadways that will become part of the Flint Hills Quilt Trail, a tour that includes quilt art on buildings.

“I love painting on barns, old barns and old buildings. It’s really addictive,” she said. “It’s really fun to get it done. You look at it and go ‘Wow, did I do that?’”

 

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